A Crown prosecutor charged with impaired driving and hit and run failed Wednesday to obtain a stay of proceedings. After an accident, the prosecutor had barricaded herself for five hours, while her residence was surrounded by the police.
Prosecutor at the Bureau of Serious Crime at the Director of Criminal and Penal Prosecutions (DPCP), Me Alice Bourbonnais-Rougeau worked in particular on the corruption file of the former mayor of Terrebonne Jean-Marc Robitaille. By ordering the end of the judicial process in October 2021, the judge had skinned the prosecutor for her “misleading statements” in court.
A few months earlier, the 30-year-old lawyer had been accused without fanfare in the Montreal Municipal Court of three counts: impaired driving, hit and run and having an excessive alcohol level.
Since then, she has tried to drop the charges by numerous requests. On Wednesday, Judge Gabriel Boutros rejected most of the defense claims, but found two violations of the accused’s rights.
On the evening of April 24, 2021, a neighbor observed Alice Bourbonnais-Rougeau’s SUV rush into her vehicle as she tried to park with great difficulty. The neighbor notices that the accused has glassy eyes and that her speech is slow. She offers him her business card, but he refuses and calls 911.
Alice Bourbonnais-Rougeau then “takes refuge” at her home, where she hides for five hours while waiting for the police to obtain a warrant to arrest her. Contrary to her claims, the accused was not illegally detained at home, concludes the judge. “She is the architect of her own misfortune,” he said.
“There is little difference between the situation of the applicant and that of a suspect who starts running when the police try to arrest him. […] She is trying to use her residence as a sanctuary to escape from a legitimate pursuit, ”said Judge Boutros.
While talking with the accused through the window, the police smelled an odor of alcohol emanating from her. According to a police officer, the accused said she is a Crown prosecutor and “knows investigators that she will call”. He is then observed walking around his apartment holding what appears to be a bottle of wine.
“It’s a privileged status that she tries to use in order to place herself beyond the reach of the agents,” says Judge Boutros.
However, the judge concluded that the officers of the Service de police de la Ville de Montréal (SPVM) committed an abusive search by looking inside his apartment with their flashlight. These “deliberate and unacceptable” actions, however, are not serious enough to lead to a halt in the judicial process.
The police also violated Alice Bourbonnais-Rougeau’s right to counsel by ending her call with her attorney after 27 minutes. A sergeant criticized the accused for acting in a “clearly dilatory” manner by stretching her appeal.
“Apart from their impatience, the officers had no justification for ending the call,” the judge concluded.
Thus, the accused’s breath sample was excluded from the evidence, which risks dropping the charge of having more than the legal alcohol limit in her blood.
The trial continues next April.